World History

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World History, Global History or Transnational history (not to be confused with Diplomatic or International History) is a field of historical study that emerged as a distinct academic field in the 1980s. It examines history from a global perspective.



World History looks for common patterns that emerge across all cultures. World historians use a thematic approach, with two major focal points: integration (how processes of world history have drawn people of the world together) and difference (how patterns of world history reveal the diversity of the human experience).

The study of world history is in some ways a product of the current period of accelerated globalization.


The advent of World History as a distinct field of study was heralded in the 1980s by the creation of the World History Association [1] and of graduate programs at a handful of universities. Over the past 20 years, scholarly publications, professional and academic organizations, and graduate programs in World History have proliferated. It has become an increasingly popular approach to teaching history in American high schools and colleges. Many new textbooks are being published with a World History approach.

The World History Association publishes the Journal of World History every quarter since 1990[2]. The H-World discussion list[3] serves as a network of communication among practitioners of world history, with discussions among scholars, announcements, syllabi, bibliographies and book reviews.

The international Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations ISCSC approaches world history from the standpoint of comparative civilizations. Founded at a conference in 1961 in Salzburg, Austria, that was attended by Othmar Anderlie, Pitirim Sorokin, and Arnold Toynbee, this is an international association of scholars that publishes a journal, Comparative Civilization Review, and hosts an annual meeting in cities around the world.

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